Publication Impact of NIH-funded Research – A First Look

March 2, 2016

In a recent PNAS commentary, Daniel Shapiro and Kent Vrana of Pennsylvania State University, argue that “Celebrating R and D expenditures badly misses the point.” Instead of focusing on how much money is spent, the research enterprise should instead focus on its outcomes – its discoveries that advance knowledge and lead to improvements in health.

Of course, as we’ve noted before, measuring research impact is hard, and there is no gold standard. But for now, let’s take a look at one measure of productivity, namely the publication of highly-cited papers. Some in the research community suggest that a research paper citation is a nod to the impact and significance of the findings reported in that paper – in other words, more highly-cited papers are indicative of highly regarded and impactful research.

If considering highly-cited papers as a proxy for productivity, it’s not enough that we simply count citations, because publication and citation behaviors differ greatly among fields – some fields generate many more citations per paper. ….

Preprints in Clinical Research?

December 18, 2015

On September 11, 2015, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) announced that it was stopping its Systolic Pressure Intervention Trial (“SPRINT”). The Institute’s Data Safety and Monitoring Board (DSMB) had reviewed interim data and concluded that the results demonstrated clear benefit from aggressive blood pressure lowering. The trial enrolled over 9300 adults with systolic hypertension and increased cardiovascular risk and randomized them to standard control (aiming for a target systolic blood pressure of 140 mm Hg) or to aggressive control (aiming for a target blood pressure of 120 mm Hg). ….